Committee approves Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director nominee, setting up full Senate vote

18 May 2018, 09:36 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Haspel Confirmed As CIA's First Female Director

Senate confirms Gina Haspel to lead CIA, first woman to hold post

Warner, who is the vice chairman and leading Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, stood on the Senate floor before he voted for Haspel and said, "We should not overlook the historic nature of Ms. Haspel's nomination as the first woman to be nominated as director of the CIA".

The vote for Haspel is shaping up to be similar to last month's tally for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was confirmed with the backing of six Democrats from states Trump won in 2016, five of whom are up for re-election this year.

He added: "However, in both our one-on-one meetings and in classified session before the Committee, I found Acting Director Haspel to be more forthcoming regarding her views on the interrogation program".

In 2002, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Haspel was in charge of a covert detention center in Thailand, where the agency conducted interrogations at a secret prison using methods including waterboarding.

Democrats who opposed Haspel's confirmation focused on the interrogation program.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, praised Haspel, a career Central Intelligence Agency employee, as "uniquely qualified to face America's biggest national security challenges", adding that she has "earned the respect and admiration of the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency". Rand Paul (Ky.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) sided with most Democrats in voting against Haspel. Sen.

Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont announced his opposition to Haspel shortly before the vote, calling some of her known record "disturbing". Had all the Democratic senators stuck together, Haspel would not have been confirmed today. John McCain (R-AZ), who is home receiving treatment for brain cancer, was not able to vote. As recently as 2017, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights asked Germany to authorise an arrest warrant against Haspel for her role in Zubaydah's torture.

During the hearing, Haspel defended her past actions and refused to criticize her colleagues for their tactics at the time. "And nearly to a person, this rank and file have supported her nomination". "On behalf of the Intelligence Community, we salute Director Haspel, a trailblazer.", said Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence.

Haspel's nomination to lead the spy agency revived a debate on its now-banned torture program. Haspel is now the CIA's deputy director.

Number two Senate Republican John Cornyn said Haspel is well-liked within the CIA and will provide "objective, unbiased, and unvarnished intelligence" to the president and policymakers. Also in the midst of a fraught election year, Florida Senator Bill Nelson met with Haspel personally and said that he believed she would be fit to serve.

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